Ohtani goes 464 ft off reigning Cy winner

March 17th, 2021

Two-way star has stolen the show for the Angels this spring and wowed yet again on Tuesday, crushing a two-run blast over the batter’s eye in center field off Indians ace Shane Bieber, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. The homer was estimated at 464 feet, and he cleared the 30-foot high batter’s eye in center field at Tempe Diablo Stadium for the second time this spring.

"It's pretty impressive," Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Ohtani, who went 2-for-3 in the Angels 17-8 win over the Indians. "Every swing he takes, it looks like he's going to hit the ball hard and he pretty much has. Everything has been up the middle or to left, which I like. He's been barreling up a lot of balls, obviously, and even with two strikes. We want to bottle this up, keep it for the next 10 years because he's feeling really good about himself."

Ohtani homered twice on Monday -- both opposite-field shots -- and leads the club with four home runs in Cactus League play. He has also made two starts on the mound and is slated for his third on Sunday against the Padres. Ohtani’s homer also came as part of an onslaught against Bieber, who gave up nine runs (one earned) on seven hits and two walks, as he was hurt by two dropped flyballs by converted center fielder Amed Rosario.

After Tommy John surgery in 2018, an operation on his left knee in ’19 and a forearm/elbow strain in ’20, Ohtani is currently healthy and proving he can return to two-way status this season. The Angels plan to be aggressive with him, as he’ll serve as part of their six-man rotation instead of pitching on one designated day of the week.

Ohtani also figures to get plenty of playing time as designated hitter, although he’s not expected to be in the lineup on the day of his starts. The Angels are also still deciding whether Ohtani will serve as DH the day before and the day after his outings on the mound.